Services Provided

We are experienced in several areas of investigation, and you can read examples of our prior casework. Here are the areas of investigation which we are most familiar with:



Details on Services we Provide

Attorney Support

MSI can provide cost-efficient investigative services to the legal community, including:
  • Locating witnesses
  • Identifying witnesses
  • Conducting witness interviews
  • Taking witness/victim statements
  • Photographic & Video Documentation
  • Conduct witness investigations of witnesses from both sides of your case
  • Surveillances
  • Recorded Interviews
  • Process Service
  • Background Investigations

MSI is experienced in criminal, civil and domestic legal matters and we have provided criminal defense investigations for both state and federal court matters. We have also conducted personal injury, workers’ compensation, domestic surveillances and other civil investigations, providing video and still photographic evidence for use in domestic matters, such as divorces and child custody hearings.

More and more attorneys are using private investigators for their case work because they have seen the cost-value private investigators are able to provide. Hiring MSI can be extremely cost-effective, as our rates are lower than what many attorneys charge per hour. MSI is able to obtain results quicker and more efficiently than an attorney who does not have the proper training nor the time to obtain the information a private investigator can. Our investigators can also be called to testify, while the attorney involved in the case cannot be a witness to his own client.


Criminal Defense Investigations

Many criminal cases do not require the services of a private investigator, but for those that do, the investigator is one of the most important members of the defense team. We at MSI have the knowledge, skills, experience and training to provide professional criminal defense investigations to help locate and interview witnesses and review police reports and depositions and crime scene photos to ferret out information that the attorney may not have picked up on.

MSI has the ability to apply the same investigative techniques that law enforcement agencies use and has recently worked on two major murder cases in Iowa where both were telecast on NBC Dateline. MSI has numerous contacts in the law enforcement community and will access those connections if need be to help the furtherance of the case. With access to numerous paid databases the general public doesn’t have access to, MSI is able to more easily find individuals, phone numbers, addresses, relatives, assets and much more.

The work experience, education and various contacts that MSI has to offer makes MSI the investigative agency your law firm wants to partner with to get the job done right. We have experience in a wide variety of criminal investigations, such as:

  • Homicide
  • Stalking and Harassment
  • Victim and Witness Interviews
  • Fraud: Corporate, Personal, Insurance
  • Narcotics
  • Robberies
  • Assaults
  • Burglaries
  • And much more

Attorneys use MSI because of our thorough investigative services that help identify/locate key witnesses, possibly uncover new evidence not previously discovered by law enforcement, identify possible deceptions or misstatements of prosecutorial witnesses, identify possible mistakes made by law enforcement and if necessary a professional report will be provided along with any other video or photographic evidence. MSI will also be available for professional testimony when requested.


Infidelity Investigations

Infidelity investigations are performed to determine if your spouse, partner, or significant other is committing adultery. Thinking your spouse or mate is cheating can often cause stress, anxiety, and feelings of insecurity. By performing discreet surveillance, we at MSI can ascertain if infidelity is occurring. Although Iowa is a "no fault" state, valuable evidence gained by MSI and supplied to you and/or your attorney in divorce proceedings may influence the judge's decision concerning alimony and child support and child custody.

A cheating mate may go to extreme means to hide their indiscretions but MSI has the knowledge and skills to obtain the information you need to approach your mate with or to take to court. GPS tracking is available and makes the surveillance much easier, safer and much more successful in a shorter period of time. Video is usually taken to identify the subjects, vehicles and locations. Upon this identification, a background check is usually conducted to ascertain the other person’s marital status, home address, employment, criminal record and any other information of use.

Clients hire MSI to check on their mate for numerous reasons which may include:

  • My mate calls me paranoid and that I am crazy for even suggesting they may be cheating. I hear this one all the time. I need to find out for my own peace of mind and to let others know I’m not crazy that my mate has spoken to.
  • I need to know if my mate is taking our child(ren) around others that are unsavory.
  • I need to know if my mate is neglecting our child(ren) by leaving them with other people or by themselves or is on drugs or drunk when in their care.
  • I need to know if my mate is spending marital money on another person when that money should be mine.

Some common signs of cheating are:

  • excessive or discreet use of the computer,
  • spending more time at work or just away from home,
  • hiding their phone, credit card, or bank account histories,
  • excessive arguing of facts related to time,
  • blaming, defensive behavior, negative projections behavior - accusing you of an affair,
  • lack of sexual interest or abnormal renewed sexual interest,
  • abnormal call activity at the home or cell phones - hang ups and long tones,
  • not allowing you to see the contents of their phone, such as texts and emails,
  • paying more attention to their body by working out, losing weight,
  • showering as soon as they get home to wash the smell of someone else off them,
  • they gave you an STD,
  • removal of pictures or photos from wallet, lost wedding ring, etc.

If your spouse or loved one is exhibiting some of these common signs of cheating, you should contact MSI today to begin a case and discover the truth. We will conduct a thorough investigation of the suspected cheater and provide you with our findings so that you can make the most informed decision for your future.


Child Custody Investigations

It is important that each parent be a strong inclusive part of their child’s life and it is equally important that their child be safe and not in an unhealthy environment. If you believe your child is in an unsafe environment because of your ex-spouse or biological parents poor decision making like using drugs, drinking and driving with your child, having unsavory individuals in the same residence with your child, abusing/neglecting the child, leaving the child with individuals they shouldn’t be with, allowing sex offenders to be near your child, leaving the child alone at home, then you need to contact MSI and have them document these activities so you can change the conditions of your child visitation/custody arrangements. Using a variety of techniques, including surveillance, GPS tracking, interviews and criminal background checks, we can provide you with the evidence you need to fight for your child’s safety in court.

These investigations generally use surveillance to determine what happens when a parent is with the child. Investigators document and always attempt to videotape any abuse or neglect that they see. Near the end of these investigations is when interviews are conducted to ascertain if additional information can be obtained. Investigators attempts to ascertain if a parent indulges in reckless driving, criminal activity, alcoholism, neglect, or other activities that may affect a child’s welfare. A Private Investigator’s unbiased, independent and neutral findings always have more credibility in court than a parent’s accusations.

When parents have suspicions about their child’s safety it is the information that a private investigator can hopefully obtain that may determine if court action needs to be taken. Unfortunately, a child is most likely to be abused or neglected by those who are closest to them – including their parents. In a divorce case, however, suspicions may not be taken at face value. A Private Investigator can help provide the evidence that can allow you to ensure the safety of your child. In some instances, a parent may be accused of abuse or neglect and it is these false accusations that may limit another parent’s access to the child. A private investigator can gather independent and neutral evidence of proper conduct.

Prior to beginning an investigation, it is essential that a strategy and objectives be clearly defined. As an unbiased third-party, we are in the position to maintain focus on the client’s objectives without losing sight of what is important to the case and are able to present it in court testimony if necessary.


Insurance/Fraud Investigations

According to the Coalition Against Insurance Fraud, insurance fraud is one the most prevalent crimes in America, costing approximately $80 billion a year. Since so many insurance fraud cases go undetected, $80 billion is most likely a conservative estimate. MSI conducts thorough investigations to uncover fraudulent claims for both insurance companies and individuals falsely implicated in accidents. We handle insurance investigations for virtually all industries, including:

  • health insurance
  • workers compensation
  • auto insurance
  • home insurance
  • life insurance
  • disability insurance

MSI utilizes a variety of techniques, including surveillance, GPS tracking, interviews and criminal background checks, to help uncover false claims or lend credibility to legitimate cases. We will provide a full, detailed report along with video documentation relative to the findings of our investigation. If necessary, we can testify in court as to our findings. MSI investigates these claims to determine if an employee/individual involved in an accident:

  • is faking or exaggerating an injury,
  • has a second job,
  • has civil and criminal records pertinent to the case,
  • has dependents living at home that they may have to care for

Locating People and Missing Persons

MSI conducts many location investigations for individuals and attorneys. Some of those cases that we have worked were to find the following:

  • former co-workers
  • military buddies
  • deadbeat dads
  • heirs to estates
  • people who owe you money (Civil Court Cases)
  • long lost relatives
  • runaway children
  • adopted children and biological parents

Even if you don't have any personal identifiers, such as a date of birth, social security number, or a last known address, we can usually find your subject, no matter where they are or even if they are deceased. MSI uses paid databases that the general public doesn't have access to which is very helpful in locating these individuals.


Surveillance Investigations

Surveillance is the art of observing and documenting a subject's activities through observation in a covert manner so the subject is unaware of your presence. The activities are documented via detailed reports, video, and/or pictures. Our agency has experience performing surveillance cases in various situations, settings and difficulty. In many surveillance cases a GPS tracking device is used in conjunction with the physical surveillance. The GPS tracker helps the investigator follow the subject at a safer distance without being caught. It can also be used to narrow done a time frame in which to do a physical surveillance instead of watching the subject all day/night long which saves the client money in the long run.

Only the most experienced private investigators can perform surveillance without arousing suspicion or jeopardizing the ability of a client to use the information obtained for future litigation. MSI is diligent, discreet and well-versed in legal issues surrounding surveillance techniques and equipment.

Why would I need to hire a private investigator for surveillance purposes?

  • Concerns of infidelity
  • Insurance fraud
  • Theft
  • Child custody disputes
  • Caregiver concerns
  • Employee issues
  • Criminal investigations

Once our surveillance is complete, we provide you with a professional, detailed report, including all relevant video documentation. MSI will also testify in your case if necessary.

Cohabitation Investigations

Do you suspect your former spouse is living with someone else while you are paying alimony? MSI has successfully investigated and gathered evidence to support petitions for an order of alimony termination or reduction. Proving a “change in circumstances” requires professional surveillance to capture the evidence in demonstrating whether a cohabitating relationship exists. It doesn’t matter where they are sleeping and staying what matters is that they are living together as a couple. The following are some basic elements you need to consider when deciding to take your alimony termination case before a judge.

  • Confirm your suspicions about the nature of their relationship
  • Background Investigations into the other parties’ marital status, financial history and criminal background
  • Create a plan for surveillance
  • Demonstrate the major components of cohabitation including; spending nights together, sharing keys to house or garage door opener, shopping together, attending family functions together, etc.
  • Establish a continuing pattern of time spent together as a couple

In most cases documentation that your ex-spouse and the other party are at the same residence in the evening and then observing them both leaving the same residence in the morning shows evidence that they are sleeping together in the same residence. This surveillance is done for a minimum of two days/nights over the course of a two to three weeks. Additional surveillance is often requested to see if both parties go shopping together, go to dinner together, go to events together, if they are holding hands or kissing one another while in public. Anything to indicate that they are actually a “couple”.

Contact Us

Marlin’s Special Investigations
PO Box 11183
Cedar Rapids, IA
Office: 319-373-5025
Click to Call 

Specializing in service to the following cities:
Cedar RapidsDubuqueIowa CityCoralvilleDavenportDes MoinesBurlingtonFort MadisonKeokukOttumwaAmesNorth LibertyCharles CityMason CityManchesterMaquoketaClintonAnamosaBettendorfMuscatineMount PleasantIndependenceDecorahUrbandaleFairfieldOskaloosaMarshalltownWaterlooCedar FallsFort DodgeWest BranchEastern Iowa and the surrounding communities